Electrics, exotics, and self-driving cars steal the show. The 2016 Paris Motor Show has a little something for everyone, including people who hate to drive themselves. This bi-annual show, which is open to the public from October 1 to 16, served up an eclectic mix of supercars, self-driving cars, electrics, and much more. If the rest of the auto show season is as varied as what we saw here, then we’re going to be some very happy puppies.
Without any further delays, here are seven of the best, boldest, and most bizarre cars and concepts from the automotive fashion runways in Paris.
1. Renault Trezor
As one of the three hometown heroes, Renault simply stole the spotlight from rivals at Peugeot and Citroen. The Trezor concept car is mesmerizingly long and low, stretching 185 inches in total length and standing less than 43 inches high. And that’s before the top separates from the rest of the body-work, revealing a jewel-like cabin covered from stem to stern in red leather. What appears to be an engine, tucked snugly ahead of the two-passenger cabin, is actually a set of matching luggage. How wonderfully French! An electric drivetrain, borrowed from Renault’s Formula-E race car, sends approximately 350 horsepower to the rear wheels.
2. Ferrari LaFerrari Aptera
What better way to blow your inheritance, or the GDP of a small country, than with the LaFerrari Aptera. At $2.2 million per copy, this drop-top version of the LaFerrari coupe is a performance titan, even in the rarefied world of exotic cars. The combination of a screaming V12 engine and electric motor produces a total of 949 horsepower. That’s stout enough to hustle the Aptera – Ferrari’s fastest convertible of all time, thank you very much – from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than 3.0 seconds. Oh yes, and it’s sold out. All of them. Every single example. Sigh.
3. Volkswagen I.D. Concept
The I.D. Concept is the first VW developed from the outset as an electric vehicle, rather than a variation of an existing product. Riding on the brand’s new MEB platform, which is set to be used in a wide range of future VW-badged EVs, the I.D. has a driving range to make a Tesla Model S blush. VW estimates the I.D. can drive up to 350 miles on a single charge, a statistic that could easily go higher by the time sales begin in 2020. A self-driving mode that, when operational, pulls the steering wheel flush with the dashboard, is expected to come to market by 2025.
4. Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ Concept
Mercedes-Benz is planning for the future by living in the now, specifically by playing on the hyperactive sales success of anything labeled an SUV or crossover. The Generation EQ Concept signals a huge change coming to the Mercedes-Benz lineup. By 2025, upwards of 10 new electric vehicles will be spun off the architecture previewed in the EQ Concept, with the “EQ” name itself becoming a zero emission sub-brand for the German automaker. This 400-plus horsepower EV was aglow in blue exterior lighting and, believe it or not, is supposedly very similar to the upcoming production variant.
5. Citroen CXperience
Normally the weirdest and wildest French concepts come from Citroen. After all, this is the brand that gave us the charming 2CV, the heavenly DS, and lest we forget, the SM coupe – a car that combined a Maserati engine with a French hydraulic suspension! What could go wrong, right? In comparison, the CXperience seems positively tame, even if this suicide-doored wagon would be a veritable revolution for many other automakers. Meant to serve as a design study for future models, this plug-in hybrid wagon needed a brasher color to make it stand out more. Still, it’s a Citroen wagon – how can we not love it?
6. Lexus UX Concept
There is such a thing as edgy design, and then there’s the downright dangerous-looking Lexus UX Concept. Lexus is serious about introducing a smaller crossover to its lineup, so the funky UX serves as a reference point for what a future production model might look like in one to two years’ time. Inside, the cabin features 3D holographic gauges and front seats made up of a riotous mix of leather straps crisscrossing a metal frame. Inside and out, this Lexus pushes boundaries and proves the Japanese luxury brand is intent on standing out in a crowd – or at least scaring one away.
7. BMW X2 Concept
BMW continues to look for new and, at times, somewhat contrived ways to entice customers into its cars. In the case of the X2 Concept, however, the finished product proves that Bavarian engineering still has a trick, or two, up its proverbial sleeve. Based on the current front- or all-wheel-drive X1 crossover, the X2 Concept has a sportier stance and profile, helped by larger front air intakes, not to mention a BMW kidney grille that has been turned upside down. Strange, but it actually looks cool. A lack of exterior door handles and tapering side glass lends a smooth and coupe-like stance to this handsome crossover. A production version is on the way soon.